George Rivera shared that he was on a FaceTime call with the actress mere hours before her untimely death from an accidental drowning.
Naya took her son Josey — whom she shared with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey — on a rented pontoon boat to Lake Piru in Southern California last July. During the mother-son outing, the 33-year-old actress called her old man for some advice.
"She would always bounce stuff off me," the grieving father told PEOPLE. "And she wanted to go swimming with Josey out in the middle of the lake." After Naya informed him the boat didn’t contain an anchor, he advised her not to go swimming in the lake.
"I could see that the wind was blowing and my stomach was just cringing," recalled George, an avid boater. "I kept telling her, 'Don't get out of the boat! Don't get out of the boat! It will drift away when you're in the water.'"
A few minutes later, the FaceTime call came to an abrupt end, sending the father into panic mode. “It was just heartbreaking,” he said, adding: “I had this bad feeling that was just killing me.”
Naya was originally reported missing, but days after the untimely accident, authorities recovered the actor’s body in the water. The actress drowned after using the last bit of her strength to save her son and get him back into the boat. Josey, now 5, was later found sleeping on the watercraft.
Reflecting on the painful memory of his daughter’s death, George stated that he still struggles with the fact that she’s gone.
"It's still pretty much a big blur of pain almost a year later," he said. "Things are slowly coming a little more into focus, but I don't know if I'll ever find closure from this. I miss her every day."